Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
It was with great consternation and disappointment that reports were released about you, once again, misleading Canadians regarding your government’s failure to turn over all residential school records to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The NCTR has, in fact, been calling on your government to provide the final versions of school documents, hospital records, federal health records, and day school records but has only been met with inaction.
There is an unacceptable pattern by your government of intentional failure to pursue true justice with Indigenous peoples. This includes, but is not limited to, your government’s disregard to uphold the human rights of Indigenous peoples as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the constant battling of Indigenous peoples in courts, failing to respect treaty rights, and not rectifying boil water advisories and the housing crises. This is unacceptable and not conducive to truly realizing reconciliation in Canada.
It is time that this pattern of neo-colonial violence ends. In light of the recovery of children at residential institutions, if there were ever a time in history where it is critical that we work together to ensure true justice is realized, it is now.
Prime Minister, your apologies need to be followed with actions. This includes immediately releasing all residential school records, ending all legal battles with Indigenous peoples in the courts, and ensuring that all Indigenous people's human rights are upheld. Reconciliation is about doing the actual work; not empty apologies and broken promises. The time for incremental justice has come to an end and claiming ignorance is no longer an excuse. There will never be reconciliation in the absence of truth and justice.
We are urging you to immediately release all records to the NCTR. Indigenous peoples and all Canadians deserve to have a true account of the magnitude of crimes committed by Canada against Indigenous peoples as a result of the Residential School System. This is a small step towards true justice.
We will be watching and holding you and your government to account.
MP Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski)
MP Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre)